Ready. Aim. Fire.
The other week, I wrote a post called Free Your Mind. In it, I made a statement which has stuck with me. I said: Your mind is a magnificently powerful weapon.
Like a gun.
A firearm is a potent weapon. However, it will have absolutely no power whatsoever unless it is loaded with ammunition. And, you need to load it with the appropriate ammunition. A Mosin-Nagant may be a rifle, but it’s useless if you load it with .22 caliber bullets when it is designed to fire 7.62x54mm rounds.
Just a few basics. There are three main components in the firing of a firearm: the projectile, the propellant, and the ignition device.
Back in the day, when flint locks were all the rage, the ignition device was a small amount of gunpowder poured into the pan below the frizzen. When the cocked hammer came down on the frizzen, the resultant friction caused a spark. That spark ignited the gunpowder in the pan, causing, ahem, a flash in the pan, and forcing sparks and heat through the flash hole. That sparking heat ignited the larger load of gunpowder in the barrel and produced an explosion. Rather than blowing the gun apart, the resultant mounting gases forced the ball- the projectile in a flint lock- through the barrel and out the muzzle.
This same concept applies with modern firearms, only, the ignition device (primer) is built into the bottom of the cartridge. The primer ignites the propellant combustion when the firing pin hits it upon depression of the hammer. In the case of modern cartridges, the primer ignites the gunpowder within the brass casing, which causes the propellant to combust and forces the bullet- the projectile- through the barrel of the gun.
Now what in the world does this have to do with my mind as a weapon? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Consider this: If your mind is a weapon with the same potency and accuracy as a firearm, then there are certain constants that you need to maintain in order to keep it functioning as it is intended to so you can acquire your target.
Let’s start with ammo.
What’s the ammunition loaded into the mind? Well, that’s our thoughts. Positive thoughts effect positive results and vice versa. In Free Your Mind, I said that one of the most important ways to care for your mind was to watch what thoughts you allied yourself with. If the thoughts are rooted in I CAN’T soil, they produce weeds. If those thoughts are planted in I CAN soil, then they will bear excellent fruit. In fact, according to acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr. Caroline Leaf, what we think actually changes the structure of our brains. Did you know that?
So, the mind is our gun, and our thoughts are the cartridges we load into it. What are the bullets, the things which make the impact, which achieve the target?
The bullets are the words we speak.
Proverbs 18:20-21 says it like this:
Whatever you say will have an impact. It’s simply your choice whether that impact will be in your favor or not. If you continue a monologue of negativity, you will leave your mind dissatisfied and cultivate toxic thoughts. Those toxic thoughts will poison your mind and consequently, the structure and function of your brain. From there, it’s a free fall of physical and emotional impact. But, if your dialogue is positive, you effectively re-wire your brain with your thoughts and achieve emotional and physical stability allowing for maximum performance and achievement in your life.
Let’s take another look at ballistics. Once combustion occurs within a gun, two things are happening to the bullet. First, it is gaining speed because the resultant gases from the propellant combustion are a force behind it. Second, it is following the helical boring in the barrel, which causes it to spin. Like with any gyroscopic mechanism, the rotation of the bullet stabilizes its flight and keeps it going straight. The barrel provides the narrow path for the bullet and imparts its rotation.
But what happens when the bullet breaches the muzzle? Now it’s out in the world, free from the strictures and dictates of the barrel. And, it’s free of the force that shot it through the barrel in the first place. The moment the bullet breaches the muzzle, all the gases behind it dissipate. Hopefully, it has achieved necessary speed and rotation to maintain stability to point of impact.
If you prepped correctly, your bullet is going exactly where you’ve aimed it to go.
Well, that’s all well and good when we’re discussing ballistics, but how the heck do I fire my words?
Well, remember Peter Pan? He said to think on happy things and your heart will fly on wings. And, if what we think influences what we say, then the result of thinking happy thoughts is speaking happy words. Load your mind with confident thoughts- thoughts that build up your inner person, thoughts that reaffirm you in your dreams. Then, once your mind is loaded with that IT CAN BE DONE ammunition, the words you fire will be I CAN DO IT. If you get this foundation down, you will acquire your target. What’s your target? The vision and dreams you have for your future.
Prepare your weapon. Clean it. Get rid of all the gunk inhibiting its performance. It’s preventing you from functioning at optimum. It’s stopping you from acquiring your target. Heck, if you’ve let the toxicity build up too much, it might be preventing you from seeing the target at all, much less acquiring and hitting it. So, get rid of it.
Now, load it. Make sure the ammunition is correct. What are the thoughts you dwell on? What have you filled your heart and mind with? Because out of that abundance, your mouth speaks. Know your thoughts. That’s what Socrates meant when he said: Know thyself.
Acquire the target. Point your weapon downrange. Adjust your sights to make sure the target is in focus. Did you know that in order for your bullet to hit the target, its trajectory path is arced, starting out higher than where its intended to go. Aim high.
Squeeze the trigger. Remember that once you’ve aimed, the bullet’s resting place is decided. If you took the time to aim properly, the bullet will find its intended target, and, chances are, you’ll hit the bull’s eye or within an allowable grouping. Sure, sometimes the elements can affect your bullet once it’s breached the barrel, but even in pretty hectic conditions, if you’ve trained well enough, you’ll place your bullet where you want it to go.
So, aim high. Set your site on higher thoughts. Happy thoughts. And don’t get bogged down in toxicity because toxic thought fires toxic talk which can only produce negatives in your life.
The next time you start to load your weapon with bad ammunition, stop. Shut your mouth. Don’t fire a single bullet until you rectify your munitions problem. Do as Thumper’s mother said: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Or take a page out of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific:
What kind of recalibration do you need to do to align your words with your dreams?